Use Less Water And Rely On Steam For Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs

Cooking soft-boiled eggs is usually a matter of careful timing and not too much heat. It can be hit-or-miss, so the folks at America's Test Kitchen wanted a more repeatable method that worked every time. The secret? Way less water than you think — about a centimetre, tops.

The video above is a little long, but it explains the process. Because the beauty of a soft boiled egg is a firm white but a soft yolk, you have to take care with temperature. The whites of an egg set at 82 degrees C while the yolk will cook through if it gets past 70 degrees C. It seems like a catch 22, but the fix is to instead use only a centimetre or so of boiling water (which will re-boil quickly as you add cold eggs to it) in a covered pan, and let most of the egg rest in the steam coming off of that water, which, as steam is, is a regular and constant 100 degrees C. This lets the eggs cook really quickly without giving the yolk time to set.

You'll want to use cold, large eggs — the recipe will work for however many eggs you want to cook. Six and a half minutes in the water, and that's all there is to it. Watch the video above to see the whole system work, and hear a more scientific description of how the process works.

Perfect Soft Cooked (Soft Boiled) Eggs [America's Test Kitchen (YouTube)]


Comments

    After a couple of failed attempts recently, just tried this method, and can confirm soft-boiled goodness!

    I just watched the video and it seems the problem they have actually arises because they put the eggs in already boiled water whereas, if you put the eggs in and then heat the water up, by the time it starts boiling the whites are cooked and the yolks are still liquid. Works every time for me.

    Not really, as they explain, the yolk sets at a lower temperature than the egg white. So the solution would ideally be to cook the egg at a higher heat as quickly as possible. Starting with room temperature water would be more prone to cooking the yolk before the white.

      I can see your logic, but the reality is I get perfect results every time using my method.

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